Methods Used: Heuristic Analysis, Tree Testing, Card Sorting, Competitive Audit, User Interviewing, Guerrilla Testing, Stakeholder Interviewing, Usability Testing, Google Analytics,
Healthinsurance.org is a company that educates its users about health insurance. It provides insurance information specific to each state and for people searching for coverage at any point within the year. Initially, this project was to determine why their health plan finding tool dropped in use the prior Open enrollment period. The project expanded to focus on the organization and verbiage of the entire site.
This project included two large iterations, one of research and then design. It was important to explain to the stakeholder how their users think differently about health insurance than they do. Once the user mindset was explained, I worked with the stakeholder and web developers to increase usability with site interactions and visual design.
By conducting a heuristic analysis, specifically, Jakob Nielsen's Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design, many issues with the site's architecture and presentation of information were brought to light. The issues pushed me to evaluate the site further according to Jakob Nielsen's 113 Design Guidelines for Homepage Usability. This was the research method that redirected the project to focus on understanding what users know about health insurance and then the site's architecture.
Guerrilla Testing and User Interviews
I spoke with individuals of vastly different socioeconomic levels and personal factors, such as family size or job provided coverage. These conversations support the fact that no matter those personal details, health insurance is a hard topic for most. This brought forward the importance of the site's verbiage being common language so that this platform can actually simplify this hard topic. These interviews inspired card sorts and tree testing to understand how users navigate the site in its current state. This relates directly to how users understand the terms used on the site.
Tree Testing and Card Sorting
Analyzing how users group the site's current healthcare terms and the pathways they took to find task-specific information clarified the reasons for navigation errors on the site. Issues surrounding health insurance reside primarily on the verbiage used on the site and or in combination with, the lack of understanding health insurance terms.
The site’s Google analytics data explained that most users of the site are new visitors. That highlights the importance of verbiage to a larger extent because of the fact that, according to the other tests, most users are non-familiar with health insurance terminology.
Personas and Journey Mapping
The main difference between users of this site are the specifics of their needs, wants and prior knowledge when looking for health insurance information. The journey through healthinsurance.org is henceforth very variable. Following journeys of multiple personas was important to understanding the needs individuals have to come to the site at all and if those needs were being met.
Design Strategy Iteration
The second portion of this project involved taking the research and using it to edit the look and feel of the site. Over many months, specifically leading up to the Open Enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, there were tweaks made on all different areas of the site. It was important to do tweaks slowly, both because of the size of the development team and because of the short timeframe before Open Enrollment - the site's busiest and most important season.
As it is still the current open enrollment period, the final outcome of those changes, according to the initial goal of increasing a specific tool's use, is not able to be determined.
The importance of working alongside your web developers and understanding their viewpoint rather than just pushing your idea is something this project gave me full exposure to. I hope working alongside my web developers (which will be different developers than I have worked with on this project) is something I will continue to have the chance to do on future projects.
A portion of the report given to the client